The Power of positive influence


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Although social journalism has been highly exhorted in its disclosure of the world’ impoverished community, much of the media content in current times is on the rich and the famous, such as successful celebrities and business professionals. This has somewhat created a ripple effect globally such that some of us might feel that we do not have as much impact as these featured individuals since they have much more influence than most of us. This may, in fact, create a sense of belittlement among some of us and this may result in our indifferent behaviours in our lives, since we cannot really change or impact other people’s lives, can we? Let these movers and shakers of society do the influencing then.

But then again, are we that powerless?

“The fact remains that we are not that powerless. In fact, we may be powerful beyond measures over time.”

Yes, we are not that famous, so our outreach may not be as vast and wide as famous people. Their tweets (and re-tweets) may number in the hundreds (or maybe even thousands) while ours linger in the tens or fewer. Their books and blogs may have massive number of readers while we may take years to hit a 100,000 readership. Their presentations at seminars may sell out but we may even have problems getting a decent number of audience for a full presentation.

“Nevertheless, each of us have a sphere of influence – no matter how small it is. You impact your loved ones and your friends and through them, you may one day impact the world.”

Now, in a world of instant gratification, this kind of impact doesn’t seem like much but given enough patience, each one of us will built and leave a legacy for future generations in the years to come.

However, this impact may not always be positive. Our impacts on the world – like two sides of a coin – cut both ways. Our effect and impact on others is always “switched on”, whether we are aware of it or not. Our kind responses to our loved ones, our decisions to stop before a zebra crossing instead of speeding off when a pedestrian is about to cross, our choice to eat a vegetarian diet, our commitment to exercise and our resolve to help others in need are all impacting on others who have come into contact with us.

“It is interesting to note that we are influencing others not just through our actions (which comes later, after our decisions have been made), but way before that – through our thoughts and vibes as well.”

The way we think and process information have already impacted on others before they manifest into our actions and behaviours. When we walked past someone along the road, we are already influencing them in a certain way, and depending on what vibe we carry at that point in time, it may determine to a certain degree how they feel about things for the rest of the day.

Some of us may be skeptical about this. I mean, how much impact can we have on someone who just spends a few seconds walking past us? However, think about the times when our lives are brightened up for a day (or even more ) because someone offers us a smile in the midst of a busy day. Or how our mood has changed positively when someone commends on our potentials and talents when we have self-doubts about our capabilities and abilities.

I still remember a scene in my mind of one of my ex-colleagues. We were on our way to work that day and he was walking in front of me. It was a breezy morning and there was a slight drizzle earlier in the day. Out of a sudden, I saw him pause midway in his stride and stooped down to pick something from the ground. Then, very slowly and gently, he took a few steps to the right where there was a grass lawn and placed something down on the ground. He began walking soon after to the company office.

Increasing my stride, I reached the place where he had stopped and looked around the area where he seemed to have placed something on the lawn. I found it within seconds. It was a snail.

“Till today, I still have the practice of looking out for snails when I am walking and placing them on grassy areas whenever they might end up on the pavement. This is the power of influence, and the power of compassion.”

We should all strive to be positive examples to others and even though we might fumble (we should forgive ourselves since we humans are mere mortals and hence, fallible), we should still pick ourselves up again and be a positive force in this world.

“Let us be an eternal force for good.”

Patrick Tay is an English Language and Life Skills Training Specialist  who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and international affairs at He can be contacted at


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